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February 28, 2021
POLITICS

Chamber clears state of alert bill

The government’s bill on the state of alert measures cleared today the Chamber of Deputies by a vote of 267 to 26 and 5 abstentions; the act underwent several changes, including that the imposition of the state of alert in at least half of the country requires the Parliament’s approval.

The deputies scrapped the amendment the Law Committee had introduced at the proposal of Liberal Florin Roman, that the law was to come into force on the date of its publication in the Official Journal of Romania.

The adopted regulatory act also provides for the possibility of shopping centers with an area of less than 15,000 sqm and terraces to open, provided that the health protection measures are observed.

“The state of alert represents the response to an emergency situation of special magnitude and intensity, determined by one or several risk types, and consists of a set of temporary measures that are proportional to the situation’s manifest or forecast severity, which are required to prevent and remove the imminent threats to the people’s life, health, the environment, important material and cultural values or property,” reads the adopted text.

It also stipulates that the declaration of the state of alert in at least half of the country requires the approval of Parliament within 5 days. This provision did not exist in the government’s version, and in the form adopted by the Senate the Parliament’s approval of the state of alert was necessary only if this measure was enforced nationwide.

“The state of alert is established by Government Resolution, at the proposal of the Minister of Internal Affairs, and may not exceed 30 days. The state of alert may be extended for good reasons, for no more than 30 days, by Resolution of the Government, at the proposal of the Minister of Internal Affairs. The state of alert is established on the entire territory of the country or just in certain administrative-territorial units, as the case may be. When the state of alert is established in at least half of the country’s administrative-territorial units, the measure requires the approval of Parliament. The Parliament shall decide in a joint sitting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, within 5 days from the date of the request for approval. If Parliament rejects the request for approval, the state of alert shall cease immediately,” the adopted text states.

Parliament can also make changes to the measures the government proposes for enforcement during the state of alert.

The lawmakers reintroduced certain articles on certain restrictions proposed in the government’s bill, which had been removed by the Senate on Tuesday, while others remained in the form that cleared the Upper House.

“During the state of alert, the consumption of food and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages may be suspended in the common dining areas in restaurants, hotels, motels, boarding houses, cafes or other public places, both indoors and on the adjacent terraces. On the duration of the state of alert, the preparation of food and the sale of food and alcoholic beverages that are not consumed in the aforementioned spaces may be allowed, except for the terraces where the sanitary protection measures are observed,” reads an excerpt of the bill.

The MEPs also approved an amendment that allows the opening of shopping centers of less than 15,000 square meters.

“The sale of products and services in the shopping centers where several economic operators operate may be suspended during the state of alert, with the agreement of the National Committee for Special Emergency Situations. The measure does not apply to small shopping centers with an area below 15,000 sqm, that accommodate individual shops of less than 500 sqm each,” the document states.

The rights restricting measures provided for in this law, as well as those that waive or relax such restrictions shall be ordered in compliance with the principle of equal legal treatment for identical or comparable situations, is another amendment adopted by the deputies.

The Chamber of Deputies is the decision-making body in this matter.

The bill stays for two days in Parliament, a time during which it can be challenged at the Constitutional Court, and will be then sent to the President for promulgation, Agerpres informs.

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